To Downsizing Before My 32nd Birthday

Friday was my last day at Americans Undercover. It was also the last day for a lot of things.

First, the big news: I resigned from my position running Americans Undercover. There were a few reasons why, but the primary one was that I just don’t want to do everything on my own anymore. I’m tired of going to bed at 6 AM. Tired of carrying 150 articles on my back. Tired of feeling like everyone was depending on me. Maybe this is because of all the hell I’ve been through this year, but I’m kind of over that.

I’ll qualify that by saying I love my job, and I appreciate everyone I get to work with, and I even still love The Americans. I’m still going to cover the show next year for, and I’m still running the show over at One Chicago Center. But as of July 1, that’s all I’m doing for the company and against every bone in my body, I like the way that feels.

It’s been a hard and uncomfortable process. I don’t like to quit. I’d rather be shot in the face than quit on something I’ve put my name to. But over the last few months, my world has changed a lot, and things don’t look the way that they used to. I can’t be the same person I’ve been for the last 16 years. I have to change, and that change has meant it’s time to move on from a lot of things.

Leaving the site cut my workload down by at least 25 percent. I’ve also scrapped any idea of getting that Lifetime movie made; I haven’t heard a word and with the person I wrote it for on to so much better, best to admit it was a lost two months than keep hanging onto it. Honestly, I’m tabling the thought of getting any script produced for now, because it’s just not there and all I’m doing to myself is getting my hopes up.

In six days, I’m going to be 32 years old. It’s a good time to take a breath.

What I want to do is find something to get excited about. I’ve done a lot of writing over the last six months, but rarely has it been something I’m madly in love with. There was this Chicago Justice editorial I wrote while kind of drunk on Mountain Dew and idealism. And my last interview with Colin Donnell. But I want to get back to doing things that I can’t shut up about.

I miss that girl. I miss the girl who seemed to have a story for everything, because she was doing crazy stuff like running off to Los Angeles just to have a drink with an old friend or flying to New York to crash an autograph signing just to make someone smile. I haven’t been that girl since New Year’s, and I want to be that girl again. Maybe San Diego Comic-Con will bring her back. Who knows? But she needs to get back here.

One of the best things about last year was that I did so much for myself. I wasn’t writing 36 episodes of a sitcom to get it made; I was doing it to make Jeff laugh. I wanted to fly all the way to Chicago just to spend a night with him, and Philip, and Monica? Then I flew to Chicago. I went to the All-Star Game not to work, but to hang out with my dad. And we made so many memories, from the bruise I still have from Whirlyball to front row seats to Maroon 5 on New Year’s Eve, to just being with people I care so much about.

In retrospect, with the exception of my sabbatical to New York in March, I lost all that. Some of it was taken away from me. Other parts got swallowed up by work. Others just drifted apart. But I haven’t been fun anymore, and it’s time to fix that. I’m still going to work hard and put in my time, but darn it, if I want to take a day off or sing off-key karaoke at the top of my lungs I’m going to do that, too. I still have another six months to even the score.

And six days to find something to do with my birthday other than sit alone and eat cake by myself AGAIN, so I’m currently taking suggestions. Let’s go have some fun again.

I’m going to leave you with one of my favorite classic songs, which I’ve been playing a lot recently: